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Hacking the Brain Machine 


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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Written By: Marc de Vinck 


5/16" drill bit (1) 
Soldering/desoldering tools (1) 
Wire cutter/stripper (1) 


Brain Machine kit (1) 

Make project tin (1) 

Panel mount headphone jack (1) 

2-line Phone cord (1) 

Rubber grommet (1) 

On/off switch (1) 

card stock (1) 

heatshrink tubing (1) 


This is an alternate build of the Brain Machine from the Maker Shed. I really like the Brain 
Machine, but I wanted to make a version that does not mount the electronics to the glasses. 

Please note: Maggie is a highly trained electrical engineer, stunt-dog, and chemist. Please 
don't use the Brain Machine on your average k-9. Thanks! 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Step 1 — Build the Brain Machine kit from the Maker Shed. 

• I am not going to go through the process of making the Brain Machine. The kit comes with 
build instructions and links to online tutorials. This build is all about the modifications I did 
to the kit. 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Step 2 — Preparing the Make Project Tin 

• The phone cord will connect the 2 LEDs on the glasses to the PCB that will be housed 
inside the Make Project Tin. Drill 1 hole based on the size of the grommet you will be using 
for the phone cord to pass through. The grommet is to protect the phone line from 
becoming frayed by the sharp edges of the hole you drilled. I used a 5/16" grommet, so I 
drilled a 1/8" pilot hole and followed up with a 5/16" drill bit. Now, just add the grommet to 
the hole. Feed the phone line through the hole with the grommet. Next, tie a knot in the 
cord so it cannot slip through the hole. 

• Drill 2 more holes at the opposite end of the tin. One is for the new panel mount headphone 
jack, and the other is for the switch. The sizes depend on the size of the switch and 
headphone jack you were able to buy and/or scavenge. 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Step 3 — Wire the Brain Machine 

• Start by adding the new, longer, 
wire to power the LEDs. I used 2- 
line phone cord approximately 4-6' 
long. It is cheap, has 4 wires, and a 
lot of people may already have 
some in a parts bin. You can use 
any type of wire that you have, just 
make sure it has 4 wires and is 
long enough so you can wear the 
glasses and place the Make 
Project Tin on a table or your lap. 
Solder the wires as described in 
the instructions from the Brain 
Machine Kit. 

• Additional Modification [not 
necessary, but saves a lot of time]: 

• After programming your Brain 
Machine, you can de-solder the 
DB-9 female connector if you 
don't want to cut a hole in the tin. 
I never plan on reprogramming 
the Brain Machine so removing 
the adapter is no big deal, and it 
saves me some time cutting the 
tin. If you want to keep it, just 
cut a rectangular opening in the 
Make Project tin and secure. 

© Make Projects 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Step 4 — Soldering the additional components 

• Instead of using the included 3.5mm stereo jack, solder in the panel-mount barrel-type 
headphone jack. The wires attach the same way as the one included in the kit, so once 
again, follow the directions in the kit. 

• We need to split the batteries up so that they fit into the project tin. The following refers to 
the 2 new single AA battery holders. First, solder one red wire from battery holder #1 to 
one black wire from battery holder #2. Solder the remaining red wire from battery holder #2 
to one of the terminals on the switch. Solder the remaining black wire from battery holder 
#1 to the "-" solder point on the Brain Machine. Finally solder a wire from the the other 
terminal on the switch to the "+" solder point on the Brain Machine. Got it? Great! (It 
sounds a lot worse than it is.) 

© Make Projects 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

Step 5 — Making the glasses 


P^H^B- ,, ^MH \^** 

^H ^^^^^^^_ ^^^^F 

• First decide where you are going to run the phone wire. I ran mine down one of the arms of 
the glasses. Make sure to allow a little extra wire so the glasses will close when you aren't 
using the Brain Machine. Next, cut a piece of 3/8" heat-shrink tubing approximately 1/2" 
long and a piece of 1/4" heat-shrink tubing approximately 3 1/2" long. Thread the phone 
cord and the eyeglass arm through the tubing and secure. 

• Shrink away! 

• Solder the LED wires to the phone cord. They are wired the same way as described in the 
instructions. I used a little heat-shrink to make it look nicer and eliminate any shorts. 

Step 6 — Stuff the Make Project Tin 

• First, cut a piece of card stock to fit the bottom of the tin. This will prevent any of the 
traces from shorting out if they come in contact with the metal tin. You must insulate the 
tin. If you don't, your board will fry! Also, you can cut the corner of the PCB just a little so 
it fits in a little easier. You can see the trimmed PCB in the above picture. 

• Now all you have to do now is stuff it all in. Start by attaching the headphone jack and 
switch. The wires should go underneath one of the battery holders. Next add the 2 battery 
holders and circuit board. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. 

© Make Projects 

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Hacking the Brain Machine 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-03 04:08:54 AM. 

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